Understanding Triggers – and using them to manage your misuse of alcohol (and other behavioral choices)…

Treatment mythology, pushed by an industry that has a vested interest in your failure, almost never points out that the “triggers” that lead us to abuse alcohol are the very keys to ending that behavior.

When our clients, current and former, call to talk about their drinking we spend a lot of time probing into the events, people, and decisions that led up to a lapse or return to old behavior patterns.

Guess what?

If you want to end a well established habit pattern, you need to recognize the chain of events that predictably lead to opening that bottle, and how to interrupt the pattern before it reaches its logical conclusion.

We all have well established behavior patterns that allow us to go though our day-to-day lives with a minimal amount of attention being paid to routine activities.

We get up, get ready, get dressed, grab some coffee, get in the car, and go to work. Your exact sequence may vary, but you manage it all without much thought required and arrive at whatever the desired end is.

Change jobs, circumstances, marital status, geography, medical condition, or cultures and we rapidly begin to create new routine habits that simplify our need to pay attention to details.

The same is true of our drinking, smoking, eating and other self-soothing habits, productive, healthy, or not. The comfort, really, lies in repeating the familiar progression with the predictable outcome.

So, when the outcome develops into a negative one, and it’s time to trade in the drinking for something else, it’s important to pay attention to the chain of events, thoughts, behaviors, and associations that have us resuming our dance down that yellow brick, or chardonnay, road.

Want More Information? E-Mail Mary Ellen at: DrBarnes@non12step.com or call us @

“Just say no!”

In the history of dumb advice around ending alcohol abuse, few things match Nancy Reagan’s admonition to “Just say no!” with the possible exception of “Don’t drink. Go to AA.”

The real solution is to “Say Yes!” to getting a grip and getting a life which is, after all , the antithesis of drinking yourself into oblivion, temporarily or permanently.

Giving up alcohol really is fairly easy, but breaking the habits and patterns are not. Therefore, ending the abuse means overlaying self-medication with different activities that address some of the same benefits you are currently getting from drinking.

Depressed? Say yes to upping you activity levels and dropping your consumption of depressants.

Anxious? Try CBT, and mindfulness practices.

Angry and passive-aggressive? Assertiveness training may be in order.

It really does come down to saying “yes” to what actually works – Ending Alcohol Abuse: What Works –  save your saying no for being intruded on, bullied, demeaned, and belittled by the 12 Step bullies:

The Bucket of Crabs, or Why AA and Alanon are Bad For Your Health,

When you’re ready to start learning how to say yes to life, your life, give us a call. That’s what we help you learn to do.